This past weekend in Osaka fight fans had the chance to see the Mutoh Gym put on their latest show, with two notable regional title bouts.
Those bouts ended in mixed fashion for the Gym's fighters, with one fighter picking up a huge win, whilst the suffered a big loss.
Today the team at the Mutoh gym held a press conference and spoke, in part, about those bouts at the weekend, as well as introducing their newest signing, a former top amateur fighter.
At the press conference Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) [小林佑樹] was presented with a sizable financial reward for his shock win over Filipino fighter Ben Mananquil (17-2-3, 4) to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight crown. Kobayashi had been the big under-dog but actually secured himself a stoppage of the the Filipino, and really did earn the financial reward with his performance and result.
Sadly new was less good when it came to former world title challenger Masahiro Sakamoto (13-3, 9) [坂本真宏], who has reportedly retired following his TKO loss to Yusuke Sakashita (18-8-3, 13) [阪下優友] in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. That bout ended with Sakanmoto's face a swollen bloodied mess, for the second fight in a row, and we did suspect that Sakamoto would walk away from the sport.
Today's press conference also saw the Mutoh gym introduce Yusuke Mine [峯 佑輔], who ran up an impressive 51-10 (12) amateur record and has won international tournaments. The 23 year old will take his pro-test on July 7th with his debut expected later in the month, and is said to have had some amateur training under former world champion Nobuo Nashiro, himself a former fighter at the Mutoh gym.
(Imagge courteys of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today fight fans in Osaka saw a new WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion being crowned, as Filipino Ben Mananquil (17-2-3, 4) had the title ripped from his hands, by an inspired Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) [小林佑樹], who secured the biggest win of his career, by far.
On paper this looked like a straight forward first defense for Mananquil, who had won the title in Japan earlier this year and had looked like a talented, tricky, skilled fighter. That title win had also followed a draw, albeit a controversial one at home, against Hinata Maruta, in which Mananquil had shown smart defense and a good boxing brain against one of the sports brightest young prospects. After all Kobayashi had suffered 8 losses,a number by stoppage, and had been dropped 4 times in his most recent bout, a decision loss to Keita Kurihara.
Kobayashi however failed to read the script, He marched forward like a man with a point to prove and worked the body of Mananquil, realising the Filipino couldn't hit hard enough to hurt him, or back him up. Even when Mananquil landed clean he struggled to get respect from Kobayashi who marched forward looking to resume his body assault and grind down the Filipino.
By round 6 Mananquil was being forced to fight Kobayashi's fight, though showed great resolve in not going down, gritting his teeth and fighting back. It was a brave, but a mistake and Mananquil would continue getting ground out by the pressure and body shots of Kobayashi.
With his gas tanking running low Mananquil was stopped in the 10th round, with the referee saving him from further punishment.
After a Saturday night of disappointment for Japanese fighters this win is a good way to begin Sunday's boxing, and a great testament to Kobayashi's desire, having previously lost in 2 OPBF title fights. Sadly for Mananquil this could be a hard loss to to bounce back from, and may set the gameplan for others who face him going forward. The body shots were killer, the pressure was too much and although Mananquil proved to be game he was simply ground to a halt. The bout may also make Mananquil question whether he has the size and strength to compete at 118lbs going forward.
Tomorrow fight fans in Osaka will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Ben Mananquil (17-1-3, 4) defending his title against Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹], in what looks like a pretty interesting match up at this level.
Today the two men weighed in for the bout, and both weight.
On the scales Mananquil, the shorter man, made weight by coming in on the 118lb limit. He looked the much, much smaller fighter.
Kobayashi was slightly lighter, coming in around 117.7lbs for the bout. Although the under-dog, he will be the home fighter and will also boast a clear size advantage. It should be noted that whilst he does have a lesser record, his issues have been with punchers and Mananquil is certainly not a puncher, though the Filipino is incredibly skilled and comes into this bout following his title win in Himeji back in February.
Related - Mananquil looks to defend regional crown against Kobayashi!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This past weekend fight fans in Sanda, Hyogo, may have expected to see Riku Kano (14-4-1, 7) [加納 陸] battle against Indonesian journeyman Mektison Marganti (5-10-1, 3) in a WBC Youth Light Flyweight title clash, which was originally arranged as part of a triple header of youth title action. That bout was however rescheduled at late notice due to Kano suffering a minor injury.
Today we have been informed that the bout has now got a new date, and that date is May 26th, just 3 weeks after the original date. Not only has Kano had his return rescheduled, but it will be against his original foe as well.
The bout has now been added to the May 26th Mutoh promoted card at the Osaka City University, making that card a triple header.
As mentioned the card now features 3 title bouts, with the previously announced WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title bout, between Masahiro Sakamoto (13-2, 9) [坂本真宏] and Yusuke Sakashita (17-8-3, 12) [阪下優友], and the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title bout, between champion Ben Mananquil (17-1-3, 4) and Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹]. This Youth title bout is scheduled on the show between those two regional title bouts.
Although Kano's addition to the upcoming show does add something to it, it is still a shame that he removed from the card this past weekend, where he would have added a lot more to a smaller show. We are however very glad that the youngster's injury wasn't too significant and that it's only set him back weeks, and not months.
Interestingly he would likely have had his bout added to the TV Osaka youtube channel had he fought this past weekend, inside we're now expecting his bout to be featured on Boxing Raise along with the rest of the card.
Earlier today at the Osaka City University the Mutoh gym announced a double header for May, with both of the main bouts being for WBO Asia Pacific titles.
One of those bouts will be for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. That bout will see former champion, and former world title challenger, Masahiro Sakamoto (13-2, 9) [坂本真宏] battle against Yusuke Sakashita (17-8-3, 12) [阪下優友] .
For Sakamoto this will be his first bout since losing to IBF world champion Moruti Mthalane at the very end of 2018, and he will be looking to reclaim the title he vacated for that world title fight. Sakashita on the other hand will be looking to build on a recent bit win over former OPBF champion Keisuke Nakayama. Interestingly this will be Sakashita's second title bout and comes more than 4 years after he was spectacularly knocked out by Suguru Muranaka in a Japanese Flyweight title bout.
The other title bout will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Ben Mananquil (17-1-3, 4), from the Filipino, defending his title against former OPBF title challenger Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹], in what could be a very intriguing match up.
Mananquil won the title earlier this year, beating Tenta Kiyose in Japan, whilst Kobayashi's last fight came in December, where he lost to Keita Kurihara in a thrilling 12 round bout that was marred by time keeper errors. This will b a highly skilled match up and should a tough one to call, given how much Kobayashi has improved in recent years.
The bouts will take place on May 26th in Osaka City, with sources in forming us the University's gym has been selected to host the bouts.
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